Why do schools continue to cut music and art programs? Is it because as a society we do not believe these occupations provide much benefit/pay/reward? …..mmm – just on the surface thinking about this let’s see how big the music industry is, how big the advertising industry is and how much the these two contribute to our society and communities as a whole (music, arts, theatrical productions) .
Part of the problem is us morons who have no talent. We understand (and read) in black and white. We have a difficult time interpreting anything. We understand control. You study and learn law, pass a test and now you’re a lawyer – yes we understand. You study medicine, pass a test and now you’re a doctor – yes we understand. You study how to teach kids to study to pass a test, you pass the test and now you’re a teacher – yes we understand. You learn how to play the saxophone, you learn how to read music, you can write music, you can free-lance music, you have tremendous rhythm, you are a poet, people applaud and say “I love your music” – NO we do NOT understand.
How much smarter is a musician over an engineer? a scientist? even a doctor? Is this really a fair question you ask. Why not? If an engineer draws out a plan – let’s say to saw off a pipe and put a cap on an oil well (as an example of course) and it doesn’t work? Do they get fired? Do they get an immediate – “Well that was lousy!” – probably not. If a scientist writes out the formula for a cancer cure and after years of test it does not work – Do they get fired? or kicked out of the lab? maybe they don’t receive an invitation to the Christmas party next year. If a musician plays the national anthem to a pack house and actually interprets the song to an original tune – Do they hear the boos? Are they told “YOU SUCK” ? Are they invited back next time? A harsh reality is Yes they are booed, Yes they are heckled, and poof – they are gone.
Let’s look at some facts that kids that learn how to play an instrument, read music and develop these skills increase their ability in other basic areas of their education – math, reading, science. Now this is not my theory but many studies have been done to prove this. Now scientist like to prove everything from A – Z and most of the time the administrators of our school systems listen. So now we do not have monkey bars and merry-go-rounds or dissecting of real “dead” frogs. So you would think in this economy and where the school system is all about performance and test scores for each school, that they would listen to some well “educated” scientist about how music will ENHANCE students math, reading retention and science scores!! Now this is a novel thought – LISTEN to what these studies are telling you. Those students who took music have a BETTER score than those who did not. Are they just naturally smarter? maybe, maybe not. Have you ever tried to sing along with the choir at church or even on the hay wagon during Christmas, not by memory but by using the music sheet/book? I can never find the right pitch, or go to high or low all the time. Now I know that the notes up higher on the bar mean that I should sing higher but when there are multiple notes going on I get all confused. And how does one write a song for 50 musicians? or 50 instruments? and how in the world do jazz musicians know when to start, stop, etc. I am truly in aaahhh every time.
Let’s face the truth educators and administrators here is a simple way to increase your test scores and the performance of each and every student: REQUIRE MUSIC TO ALL STUDENTS FROM 3rd GRADE TO 10th GRADE. Like the following musicians who went on to obtain college degrees and then found success in music; Yo-Yo Ma, Bonnie Rait, Lisa Loeb, Alicia Keys (was offered a full ride to Columbia but choose to follow music first) , Art Garfunkel, Russell Simmons (musician and now producer).
So let’s keep beating that drum and keep music in our schools. Someday I’ll find the beat.
Oh yeah — here’s the research for you skeptics —http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060920093024.htm